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Fire Up Your Social Media Toolkit

Thursday, May 01, 2014   By Mike Reddy

 


You can tell that time has moved on when a small business adviser starts talking about social media management needing its own set of tools!

A business coach with their calculator, a chef with their knives and now the small-business owner with their kit of social media tools.

Social Media provides a very useful platform to increase the return on your small business marketing dollar.

But I need to preface this post with a vital point that is often overlooked by small business owners. As with all aspects of marketing it is essential to first decide what it is you are using social media for.

Just like any marketing channel little will be gained unless you have a specific purpose in mind along with a specific strategy to achieve that purpose.

Once that has been determined you can then plan how you are going to monitor your progress.

Monitoring and reviewing your progress will ensure you take the shortest road to your destination.

As a small business owner you also need to be prepared to make both an investment and a commitment to social media.

With all of this, you will find that investment will stand the best chance of being rewarded. Ignoring any of the steps will almost certainly result in little or no result.

So what should be in this small business social media toolkit?

In general terms the best social media toolkits will include:

  • blogging
  • social networking
  • multimedia tools
  • online reviews and opinions

Each one of these areas should be analysed independently of the others. However, the most ideal social media marketing tools will provide something of a synchronicity between them providing ease of use.

There are certainly a lot of options available to the small business sector. A seemingly endless confusing list of various management tools all declaring that they will make your social media life so much easier.

So here are four factors which I hope will enable you to select the best solution for you.

  • Affordability. Ensure you understand how much the entire solution will really cost you.

  • Scalability. You are employing a social media strategy because you want your small business to grow. It will make life a lot easier for you if the solution will grow with you. Chopping and changing any sort of application is inconvenient at best.

  • Coverage. Although it depends on your small business social media strategy, chances are your preferred solution will at least allow easy management of your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn presence. There are some time-saving advantages if it will post to all three although there can be a downside to this. There is a certain amount of evidence that each of these platforms will slightly devalue the perceived value of postings that come from third-party applications. After all, they want you to be typing directly into their platform for their audience!

  • Posting convenience. If you are going to use the application to post into various platforms it is useful if it includes the ability to schedule posts. The cleverest of the social media toolkits will be able to determine the best time for a post to be made based on previous engagement. It takes the guesswork away.

Decide the most important factors for your own small business social media objectives and which of these are most important to you.

If you would like to check out some options you may want to have a look at products such as HootSuite, VerticalResponse, Sprout Social, Sendible or Postling.


Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.